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Sir Ian Mckellen returns advance rumoured to be worth £1 million for his memoirs due to painful memories

'It was a bit painful, I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far,' says the Lord of the Rings actor

Maya Oppenheim@mayaoppenheim
Tuesday 05 April 2016 13:07
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The 76-year-old world-renowned actor signed the deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton, last year and the book was expected to chronicle his prolific 54-year career
The 76-year-old world-renowned actor signed the deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton, last year and the book was expected to chronicle his prolific 54-year career

Sir Ian Mckellen has withdrawn from a deal rumoured to be worth £1 million for his memoirs because he didn’t want to revisit painful memories.

The 76-year-old world-renowned actor signed the deal with publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, last year, and the book was expected to chronicle his prolific 54-year career.

A leading gay rights activist, Sir Ian has been a tireless campaign for LGBT rights since he came out to the British public on BBC Radio in 1988.

Speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival on Sunday, Sir Ian explained the reasoning behind pulling out of the book deal. “Have you ever tried to write a book?” The Times reported. “I put nine months aside to do it, and I got a very handsome advance. Then I sent the money back”.

“It was a bit painful, I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far,” he went on to say. “And frankly, if anybody wants to know anything about my public life — my working life, my career — it’s all catalogued in greater detail on my website than could ever be put into a book. That’s the modern version. In great detail you can go into stuff that I’ve thought about and performed over the years”.

“The privacy of my life I don’t quite understand myself and it has nothing to do with what I do for a living, so there you go, I’m sorry,” Sir Ian added.

Rowena Webb, the Director of Non-fiction at Hodder & Stoughton confirmed the news to The Independent, saying, "I would have loved to work with Sir Ian on his autobiography, but I entirely respect his decision not to go ahead".

The actor, who is best known for playing Gandolf in Lord Of The Rings, was knighted for his contribution to the performing arts in 1991.

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